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Former Oakland Raiders’ Coach Jon Gruden Talks NFL Draft, Khalil Mack, and QBs Who Fit with OC Greg Olson

April 29th, 2014 at 5:59 PM
By Nicholas Gill

On a conference call, ESPN analyst Jon Gruden spoke to the media about some of the prospects in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. He holds his Gruden QB Camp, so he gets to know some of those players as he breaks down their game film. Gruden spoke specifically about some of the quarterbacks he thinks fit with the Raiders and offensive coordinator Greg Olson's offense.

“I can see Olson liking Bortles, from Central Florida,” Gruden said. “Bortles did a lot of option and drop back stuff in a pro style system. He's got size. I can see Olson liking Johnny Manziel. And if you know Greg Olson, he is a guy with tremendous imagination. I can see Greg liking a lot of these guys.”
So if the Raiders consider a quarterback in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Gruden likes how Blake Bortles and Manziel fit with offensive coordinator Greg Olson. Gruden and Olson worked together for a season in Tampa Bay. However, it appears Oakland will stay away for the quarterback position until later in the draft. That could change if a Manziel or Bortles blew them away in their workouts or meetings. If that is the case, Gruden likes Georgia's Aaron Murray, listing him among his top five quarterback prospects. He also likes Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron as a pro prospect and even could see him in the first round.
“McCarron’s production speaks volumes,” Gruden said. “He's the all-time record holder at Alabama in a lot of different categories. He doesn’t have the flashy statistics that some of the quarterbacks do because of the system he comes out of. But he takes care of the ball and he has a big picture understanding of the game. He has been well schooled. I don't think he has tremendous athletic ability, his arm is not off the charts, but he can play quarterback and manage an NFL system.”
Gruden also really likes Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr because of his experience and arm strength. Those are also some of the reasons Gruden valued McCarron and Murray. Another interesting thought from Gruden was he did not believe that linebacker Khalil Mack was a good fit in a 4-3 scheme defense. That is an interesting assessment because the Raiders have been adamant they would remain as a 4-3 base defense, despite adding players via free agency that give them some scheme flexibility. So if they consider him in the first round, the fit may not be ideal.
“My biggest concern is where do you play Khalil Mack,” Gruden said. “I think he is an edge player. When I look at Khalil Mack, he is most effective on the line of scrimmage as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense or as a nickle pass rusher playing the defensive end position. In a pure 4-3, I don't know that you want him as a base defensive end. I think he fits the 3-4 schemes the best.”
On May 8th, all the NFL Draft speculation will finally end. Gruden has been accused of liking many quarterbacks, but he knows the NFL and knows how to be successful in the league. 
Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, A.J. McCarron, Aaron Murray, Derek Carr, Football, Johnny Manziel, Jon Gruden, Khalil Mack, NFL, Oakland, Oakland Raiders

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